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In November of 2012, a man dialed 911 for help from his apartment which had caught fire. The fire spread quickly while he was on the phone with 911. The fire took his life. An internal investigation that began the next morning and continued for the next year determined a failure to properly dispatch the fire department led to a nearly five minute delay in response. It was only the second time in the history of the Onondaga County 911 center a dispatch delay had led, in part, to a fatality. The delay was never revealed. Not to the man's family, the fire department or the public. Three years after the fire our investigation of more than eight months led to all of those parties learning of the deadly delay. We also discovered the dispatcher who was determined to be at fault served no punishment and was not retrained. http://cnycentral.com/news/local/911-commissioner-5-minute-dispatch-delay-blamed-partly-for-fiery-death http://cnycentral.com/news/local/fire-victim-tells-911-call-taker-i-dont-want-to-die-during-dispatch-delay https://youtu.be/WqkQpYKN65E https://youtu.be/TAsu2G4oWpo https://youtu.be/vLbMZltc-sE https://youtu.be/IGy14aM64GI
It all started with a tip from people on the front lines, and quickly unraveled into a story that has sparked much needed oversight of Ingham County's new consolidated 911 center. The center merged two 911 dispatch centers into one back in June of 2012. In October, a group of first responders approached Reporter Ann Emmerich with alarming concerns about problems within the system. They believed at least two deaths could be connected to delayed response times because emergency crews were sent to the wrong address. They also believed county officials were trying to "cover up" the problems. Using the Freedom of Information Act, Ann Emmerich began digging into records from the 911 Dispatch Center. She obtained documented complaints from the Lansing Fire Department, call logs from the dispatch center, and time stamped recordings of 911 calls. Just days after Emmerich made those FOIA requests, Lansing's Mayor announced he would form a task force to investigate concerns with the County's 911 Center. At the time, there was no advisory board in place to oversee the center. Once officials went public with the formation of a task force, the original board that worked to establish the 911 center was brought back together to begin oversight.